Chobanian sets her sights on state
Lafayette junior Haleigh Chobanian got a taste of the state tournament last year and she wants to take another bite of it.
Chobanian is the No. 1 singles player for the Lancers, which reached the Class 2 Final Four as a team last year at state for the first time in school history. Chobanian also reached state as a singles player and finished fourth.
If she needed a bumper sticker, it would be “state or bust.”
“This is what it’s all about,” Chobanian said. “I train all year long. Every match I play, I learn more and more about what I need to do to improve. I am so excited about state this year because the competition is even greater than last year. I love being challenged.”
Last year, the Lancers lost 5-4 to eventual state champion Rock Bridge. In the match for third place, Lafayette prevailed 5-2 over Park Hill.
“This year, I believe Lafayette has its best chance at winning state ever,” Chobanian said. “We recently defeated last year’s state championship team, Rock Bridge. I am confident we have the ability to go up against any team this year and succeed. Our entire lineup is strong. (It’s) Lafayette’s best ever.”
Lafayette coach Donna Stauffer said the best is yet to come for Chobanian.
“Obviously, placing fourth in the state provides confidence and motivation to a player,” Stauffer said. “However, Haleigh has always been self-motivated. Her goals are high and she continues to work to achieve them. We have no doubts that she will continue to excel and grow as a player.”
This season did not begin quite like Chobanian would have liked.
“In the beginning of the season I started off slow, but now I feel like I’m back to my old self and ready for the competition,” Chobanian said. “It was a slow start because I wasn’t there 100 percent mentally. I had some losses that really hit home and I needed to regroup and get my mental toughness back.
“Right now, I feel more confident than I did when the season started.”
As far as her game goes, Chobanian said her strengths are her groundstrokes and mental toughness.
“Haleigh’s strengths are her forehand and her tremendous mental focus on the court,” Stauffer said.
An important part of her game is how she has spent time off the court.
“This offseason, I started focusing on nutrition and strengthening my body,” Chobanian said. “In the past, I have had injuries that have interfered with my performance. As a result, I have learned so much about prevention.”
That should help her again at the state tournament.
“Haleigh is having a sensational season,” Stauffer said. “Her only singles losses are to former state champions from Ladue, St. Joe’s and Visitation. She is also having her best season in doubles, including a win over former state doubles champions from Visitation.”